February is the month when I hit the Winter Wall as the cold, grey days pull me into stagnation. Add a pandemic and isolation — last week I hit the Winter Wall x 1000. Devoid of any vision for the future, I found my well completely empty.

Let me interject how grateful I am for friends like Luna, Lynn, and Jan to whom I can reach out during difficult times. I’m still navigating the Winter Wall, but through support and resources, I can peek just over the top.

Yesterday, after finding support from a close friend, I read a reflection from a mentor entitled What I Miss. With her encouragement, I made my own What I Miss reflection. To say that I cried while writing would be an understatement. Sobbing would be a more accurate description. 

Yet when I was finished, I noticed that something shifted. Through the process of naming What I Miss, I found that the vision for the future lay within the essence of the things I treasure most.

Sometimes we must look into the dark to find within us that which will draw us into the light again.

I miss outdoor music on a Friday evening, lying on a blanket watching children play and idly chatting with friends while we unwind from the week.

I miss gathering with my gal pals on a Wednesday night at our favorite local restaurant, bitching about how the winter is too long and how hard our weeks have been while we laugh and share appetizers made mostly of bread.

I miss greeting my students at the yoga studio as they wander in, eager or tired, to find their props and center before practice.

I miss covering my students with a blanket in Savasana, tucking in their feet just the way they prefer.

I miss sitting in a circle for pranayama and meditation, reflecting our shared energies back to one another as we breathe and center together.

I miss window shopping after a downtown dinner on a Friday Night.

I miss festivals of all types, absorbing the energy of the crowd and excitedly talking with whatever friend I come across.

I miss my children’s yoga students and the way they climb into my lap and say “Ms. Susan” emphatically before sharing profound sacred observations in that way that only three-year-olds can.

I miss having friends over when my house is messy, sharing whatever food we each picked up on the way home, and how we don’t wash our hands as we dish up the food.

I miss the anticipation of spring get-togethers.

I miss sitting on the patio at Flat Branch, watching those around me, then becoming absorbed in conversation with my companion after they arrive late because they couldn’t find a place to park.

I miss talking with the student after class who has something to share, listening to what is on their mind.

I miss gathering with the yoga teachers, talking intensely about the topic of the moment, connecting, listening, reflecting, sharing.

I miss the students I see in passing as they are arriving for class and I am heading home at the end of my teaching day.

I miss movie theaters and running into a cafe, seeing a room full of familiar strangers, and stopping to chat with someone at an unexpected reunion.

I miss the annoyance of someone placing their mat too close to mine. I miss loud children running through the studio. I miss rolling mats and folding blankets and swiffering the studio floor. I miss handprints on the mirrors and doors and being annoyed that I need to make more mat cleaner.

I miss watching my students practice, and feeling the textural quality of our energies merge as we chant Aum together.

I miss walking into the studio on Saturday morning, soft yet tired after teaching my final kids class of the week, just to feel the energy of the post-practice community.

I miss picking up toys, singing songs, and playing yoga games that I have taught 1 million times–the games that the kids love so much that we must play them again and again.

I miss community. I miss safety. I miss humans.

~Jai Bhagwan